The scent of a memory



I overheard someone saying that sense of smell is most closely associated with memory, and my ears perked up. I wondered if it was fact, so I conducted extensive, intelligent research and Googled it. I found that it’s true, and that people with full olfactory function can evoke descriptive memories with just one whiff. And, I believe it, because to this day, when I smell peanut butter and jelly and milk, I immediately think of my elementary school, which then makes me think of the library there that made me love reading, which then makes me feel a sense of comfort, happiness and being a carefree kid. Also — if I close my eyes and think really hard about it, I can even smell the peanut butter and jelly, no matter where I am.

Clearly, I’m a genius.

This got me thinking about other scents that conjure up some mems.

Lawnmower — as in, freshly-cut grass mixed with gasoline: Summer. Having nowhere to go except the pool and/or a long drive for no reason, and maybe work for three hours afterwards, followed by a party or two and getting home late and slightly drunk. AKA the age of 17.

Winterfresh Gum — being at the movies on a date and knowing there’s some kissing gonna be happening. AKA the age of 17.

Also, we had my favorite color rose in CA.

Also, we had my favorite color rose in CA.

Roses — Being in pretty gowns, jewelry and fully coiffed with a fun night ahead of me. These memories have changed over the years, as it used to be proms and dances, then it was dates and now it’s the morning of my wedding, when I sat in my hair and makeup, taking in the scent of my bouquet so deeply that I can still remember it exactly if I think really hard to this day, almost 5 years later.

Seafood — Cape Cod. Even when I lived on the West Coast and smelled seafood in a store or at a waterfront restaurant, I thought immediately of Cape Cod, lobster rolls and walking to get ice cream at night. (SN: I think it’s funny when people are like ‘I can’t STAND the smell of seafood” because I always think they’ve only ever smelled bad seafood. Fresh seafood is not that strong of a smell)

Sunscreen — Being hot, sandy, tired, dehydrated, a little buzzed and honestly — bored — by being on the beach for too long and wanting a shower STAT.

Lavender — THE best massage therapist I’ve ever had (in NJ). Her name is Bichelle and if you’re in the area of Montclair, you I cried the first time I went — during the appointment and after — because I felt so much tension and stress and knots leave my body. I swear to you, after the first time I saw her, I walked the few blocks to get a coffee and then to my car in the parking garage. I felt so light. But, then — as I picked up my leg to go up the first stair, I had that experience where you go to open a door you think is a certain weight and you wind up using too much force because the door is actually super light. I will never forget that feeling. I was walking on air!

05829 jolly rancher watermelon.jpg

Watermelon candy/gum — Walking to the corner store for candy, a sandwich, soda, ice cream, watermelon Bubble Yum, etc. The store was called Walt’s — maybe it still is, I haven’t been back to that area (Rensselaer/Hampton Manor) in a long time. We lived on the dead end street the store was on and I think back and still can’t believe my grandmother (who watched me during the days) let me walk there alone sometimes. It wasn’t super far, but it was way out of eye/earshot. Well, there were a ton of neighborhood kids and I guess times were a little different back then. I’m pretty sure the cops would be at our door today. Such a shame because I loved that little sense of freedom.

Inhales deeply — Ahh. Freedom. Nowadays, the ‘sweet’ scent of freedom is nail polish and nail polish remover (gag) because I’ve been able to sneak away for an hour to the nail salon. Hashtagmomlife, and all that.